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Plant Cell. 2008 Feb;20(2):277-91. doi: 10.1105/tpc.106.049957. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

EMBRYONIC FLOWER1 participates in polycomb group-mediated AG gene silencing in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Polycomb group (PcG)-mediated gene silencing is a common developmental strategy used to maintain stably inherited repression of target genes and involves different protein complexes known as Polycomb-repressive complexes (PRCs). In animals, the two best-characterized PcG complexes are PRC1 and PRC2. In this report, we demonstrate that the plant-specific protein EMBRYONIC FLOWER1 (EMF1) functions in maintaining the repression of the flower homeotic gene AGAMOUS (AG) during vegetative development in Arabidopsis thaliana by acting in concert with the EMF2 complex, a putative equivalent of Drosophila melanogaster PRC2. We show that AG regulatory sequences are required for its ectopic expression in both emf1 and emf2 mutants and that EMF2 is required for trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27 on the AG chromatin. We found that EMF1 interacts directly with AG and that this interaction depends on the presence of EMF2. Together with the finding of EMF1 interference with transcription in vitro, these results suggest that EMF1 enables transcriptional repression of AG after the action of the putative EMF2 complex. Our data indicate that EMF1 plays a PRC1-like role in the PcG-mediated floral repression mechanism.

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